The legislative council of our nation’s capital passed a bill to decriminalize possession of weed with a 10-1 vote this week, and DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray has said that he’ll sign the legislation into law when it comes across his desk. That means possession of up to an ounce of cannabis will be punishable only with a $25, though selling and smoking in public will still warrant an arrest.
Currently, black residents account for nine out of ten pot arrests in the city, and lawmakers hope the new rule will help curtail the disproportional effects of drug law enforcement. “This is a victory for social justice and a major step for the nation’s capital,” said Councilmember Tommy Wells in a statement. “This bill is a tremendous stride to end the disproportionate impact of marijuana arrests that keep our residents from jobs, higher education and housing opportunities.”